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The long peace

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  • The long peace

    We may be on the cusp of the end of Pax American with events similar to the end of Pax Britannia seeming to be unfolding. With that in mind I thought it would be interesting to look at the long peace, 1815 to 1914, and see what conclusions we can draw.

    Instead of applying my limited knowledge on the subject and creating an essay here I'm providing a link to an article to construct the conversation around.

    https://courses.lumenlearning.com/bo...tury-of-peace/
    We hunt the hunters

  • #2
    Given all the wars that took place during this period something of a misnomer. Almost every European nation had at least one war, even Switzerland had a civil war. Belgium was born out of war. Only Sweden and Norway (united until 1905) seem to have escaped. The linked article states that the great European powers did not war on each other - Tosh. Britain and France fought Russia mid century in the Crimea and the Baltic, Prussia fought Austria and then France, France fought Austria in Italy and, once Independent, Italy fought Austria
    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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    • #3
      Originally posted by MarkV View Post
      Given all the wars that took place during this period something of a misnomer. Almost every European nation had at least one war, even Switzerland had a civil war. Belgium was born out of war. Only Sweden and Norway (united until 1905) seem to have escaped. The linked article states that the great European powers did not war on each other - Tosh. Britain and France fought Russia mid century in the Crimea and the Baltic, Prussia fought Austria and then France, France fought Austria in Italy and, once Independent, Italy fought Austria
      Thanks for recapping the wars that make the long peace a controversial concept.

      I think we have to look at in the context of post WII which people are calling the longest period of relative peace in history despite numerous wars?
      We hunt the hunters

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      • #4
        Originally posted by wolfhnd View Post

        Thanks for recapping the wars that make the long peace a controversial concept.

        I think we have to look at in the context of post WII which people are calling the longest period of relative peace in history despite numerous wars?
        Well there hasn't been a year in the period 1946 to 2018 when there hasn't been a war in progress somewhere in the world. Whilst some of these have been labelled as civil wars or uprisings almost all of these have been forms of proxy war with one or more larger world or regional powers with a finger in the pie. It may have seemed peaceful to many of the inhabitants of Western Europe and North America but where fighting did take place casualties and destruction amongst the local inhabitants were often high and the World was anything but at peace.
        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

        Comment


        • #5
          Well, the article, if read through, is more accurate than the summary. It does mention the Crimea War and the Franco-Prussian War, for instance; what it claims is that wars between major European powers tended to be shorter than the two ends (the Napoleonic Wars and WWI-WWII), which is generally reasonably true.

          There is a back-and-forth that I have vaguely perceived, in the last few centuries of military history, between total war and limited war. The wars of religion of the 1600s tended to be total wars. Then we had the 1700s, when small, professional armies that wouldn't reduce the countryside to a lunar landscape usually warred for minor border adjustments, colonies, fortresses. Prussia was in real danger at one point, but that was probably the exception. Then along came Napoleon, and again wars swerved towards total, with armies of millions of men and the complete crushing of the enemy countries. The 1800s go back to colonial wars and civil wars, and even wars among major powers that ended with utter defeat for one of them (say the French in 1871) achieved this more through debellation than through actual complete destruction. Then, the World Wars, wars in which not only there was the utter destruction of the enemy, but entire defeated countries ceased to exist. Then, it's yesterday, and the balance of nuclear MAD meant proxy wars, anti-colonial wars, guerrillas, terrorism. Now... well, let's hope I'm wrong. Or at least that the turn takes another 20 years to happen.
          Michele

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Michele View Post
            Well, the article, if read through, is more accurate than the summary. It does mention the Crimea War and the Franco-Prussian War, for instance; what it claims is that wars between major European powers tended to be shorter than the two ends (the Napoleonic Wars and WWI-WWII), which is generally reasonably true.

            There is a back-and-forth that I have vaguely perceived, in the last few centuries of military history, between total war and limited war. The wars of religion of the 1600s tended to be total wars. Then we had the 1700s, when small, professional armies that wouldn't reduce the countryside to a lunar landscape usually warred for minor border adjustments, colonies, fortresses. Prussia was in real danger at one point, but that was probably the exception. Then along came Napoleon, and again wars swerved towards total, with armies of millions of men and the complete crushing of the enemy countries. The 1800s go back to colonial wars and civil wars, and even wars among major powers that ended with utter defeat for one of them (say the French in 1871) achieved this more through debellation than through actual complete destruction. Then, the World Wars, wars in which not only there was the utter destruction of the enemy, but entire defeated countries ceased to exist. Then, it's yesterday, and the balance of nuclear MAD meant proxy wars, anti-colonial wars, guerrillas, terrorism. Now... well, let's hope I'm wrong. Or at least that the turn takes another 20 years to happen.
            You are conflating absolute war with total war. Absolute or Unrestricted War - is a conflict in which no political, moral or legal limitations are observed on the methods used or their scope. Total war in its "ideal" form is is the complete mobilisation of all resources, physical, social and psychological, civilian and military solely for the waging of war (see Roger Chickering and Stig Forster, A World at Total War, Cambridge University Press, 2010. Page 2 also Arthur Marwick Total War and Historical Change Europe 1914 -1955 Open University Press 2001) Total war is one Society or People at war with another as opposed to what Moltke the Elder defined as Cabinet War one government or regime with another. Total Wars often tend to be tipped towards Absolute as Moltke warned but the two can be separate as some near absolute wars have not been total
            [
            Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
            Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MarkV View Post

              Well there hasn't been a year in the period 1946 to 2018 when there hasn't been a war in progress somewhere in the world. Whilst some of these have been labelled as civil wars or uprisings almost all of these have been forms of proxy war with one or more larger world or regional powers with a finger in the pie. It may have seemed peaceful to many of the inhabitants of Western Europe and North America but where fighting did take place casualties and destruction amongst the local inhabitants were often high and the World was anything but at peace.
              USA has been at war for the last 17 years. But like you say, it is peaceful to them since the wars are fought elsewhere
              Wisdom is personal

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              • #8
                Originally posted by MarkV View Post

                You are conflating absolute war with total war.

                ...

                Total Wars often tend to be tipped towards Absolute as Moltke warned but the two can be separate as some near absolute wars have not been total
                - the two types "tend" to be conflated,
                - at least "some" total wars have been absolute, if just "some" have not, and
                - even those "some" absolute wars that were not total wars in your judgement, actually only were "near" absolute wars.

                So maybe this "conflation" is somewhat understandable, eh.

                But I'd be glad to read your examples.
                Michele

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